A Front Cover Analysed

After accumulating knowledge of who the magazine is directed towards, we produced an audience analysis for the front cover and how specific techniques are used to cater to it’s audience demographic:

Billboard audience analysis

Billboard’s target audience, in conclusion, is roughly 20-30, financially stable and mostly female. This then dictates what is displayed on the cover, for example having mainly female cover stars for a mainly female audience, allowing them to relate more, the financial assets of the audience are also reflected in the costume of the cover star because of the amount of expensive-looking rings she has on. Billboard’s target audience is also politically aware and contemporary, communicated through the mission statement involving rebellion.

Audience Profiling

Magazines are directed at a certain demographic, which influences what content goes into them in order to cater to the interests of the reader.

Yougov.co.uk is a website which shows the demographics for different bands, sports teams and people etc so can help deduce what kinds of people as interested in the same things. Using this website and other sources we created an audience profile for a popular music magazine, mine being Billboard:

Billboard audience profiling


From this research, I deduced that the audience Billboard is directed at are young adults, mostly women, who are interested in a plethora of different music genres. These people are also into mostly mainstream music, which becomes apparent by the popular music artists featured on many of it’s front covers. Another way in which Billboard caters to it’s audience is in its’ colour scheme, the black and white photo creates an edgy feel, reflecting the young and contemporary reader demographic.






Conventional design features of a magazine

Every magazine cover must have certain elements, including:

  • masthead
  • main cover line
  • main cover stars

These elements and several more (labelled below) create a magazine cover which appears professional and enticing to the public, two features which are essential to any magazine aspiring to be successful.

Labelled professional magazine cover











How will this affect my magazine?

When making my music magazine I have to be aware of all of the features that make a magazine intriguing, especially using lots of capital letters and pugs to engage the reader. Another component I need to be conscious about is colour scheme, a conventional magazine will only include about 2 or 3 colours other than black and white on their front cover. A small colour scheme makes a cover appear more cohesive and easier on the eye for the reader.

This research of an existing magazine will contribute to my design process by directing my magazine in the same direction as a professional one. This will include the size of the masthead compared to the rest of the writing (much larger) and how plugs and pugs can be placed effectively to interest the reader.

So… How can an image communicate meaning?

Throughout the past few lessons and posts we have been learning how to convey meaning and present messages to the viewer through the media we produce. This has been done mainly through two mediums:

Camera Framing

How the camera is used for an image can say a lot about it, for example:

Long shot- gives more peripheral detail, often drawing attention to the subject of the image.

Close-up- directs audience’s attention to the only thing/person in frame, enabling them to convey the mood of the image more easily.

High angle- makes subject seem small and inferior

Low angle- subject appears bigger and stronger, as if they were towering over the camera

Example of long shot angle:


All components of mise-en-scene contribute to communicating meaning through an image, these components are:

Makeup/hair/clothing- all of these factors can convey the model’s social class and interests, but also the time period in which it is set in.

Lighting- can create the mood, for example a low-lit and shadowy scene connotes feelings of sadness or fear whereas a warm and well-lit scene implies a happier scene.

Props/setting- as in costume, where a piece is set can illustrate the time period it is set in and the class of the characters. Props can be used to give the audience more information about the characters and what they do, for example, a musician may hold a microphone in a poster to show they are a singer.

Acting/proxemics- where actors are in comparison to one another says a lot about their relationship. This could mean when a character is facing away from the other they are angry, or if they are close together then they may be friends.

Focus forward

Using these two techniques are essential to the production of my own music magazine. This is because the cover must be able to display the magazine’s genre and features immediately to the reader, without this they will not feel enticed to pick it up and read it.



The Camera Talks

Using the pictures taken from the contact sheet, I picked the top 9 using varying angles and distances in order to convey different meanings for each image:


To each photo, we had to add 3 hashtags; one technical camera term, one denotation, and one connotation. These tags help identify what is trying to be conveyed through the camera work, for example the emotions and predicament of the subject of the picture.

I think that in order to further communicate the meanings in the photos the camera techniques could’ve been taken further. By this I mean using further distances in long-shots and more extreme high angles to display the stories of the pictures more strongly.



Technical Camera Terms

When taking photos an important part of how the meaning/story is conveyed is what’s in the photo. However, an equally important part is how the camera is used. This can include changes in angles and distance from the camera, we took these pictures to try and experiment with what meanings different camera techniques can produce.

Contact Sheet

How can camera create meaning?

Angles- a high angle connotes a sense of vulnerability on the model whereas a low angle makes them appear strong and superior.

Distance- close-ups bring attention to the face, allowing the model to portray their emotions more clearly. Long-shots show the entire body so the meaning of the picture can be portrayed through actions.

Straight/cantered- a cantered (or dutch) angle creates a more dramatic image.




My image that uses mise-en-scene to communicate meaning

Creating a tour poster

In order to produce a tour poster that can draw in its’ viewer, mise-en-scene is essential. The use of hair, costume and background can create a powerful first impression of what the artist and their music are like. Also, what genre they belong in.

The genre my group selected was ‘heavy rock’ which we perceived as bands such as ‘guns n roses’ and ‘metallica’, thus creating this moodboard to help us collect inspiration for our shoot:

My ‘Heavy Rock’ Moodboard

Made with Padlet


Final Photo Choice

These annotations made me more aware of what mise-en-scene I need to use to convey the theme of my music magazine. From this shoot it is clear that costume displays the most about a model, this is because without this costume the model would not look ‘heavy rock’ at all. Another element I will consider in my music magazine is setting, specifically using a green screen or plain backdrop in order to create atmosphere by editing in a different one more cohesive with the genre later on in the editing process.

So…I’m a media prosumer

My Media Consumption

To further understand Blumler and Katz’s theory of Uses and Gratification we created collages of the media we consume. By doing this, it became apparent that as well as being a consumer I’m also a prosumer. This means that as well as consuming media, I also create it. This can be done through instagram or facebook posts or even posts on this blog.

Another thing we learnt from the collage exercise was which categories of the Uses and Gratification theory were most prevalent in our interests; and also which categories our biggest interests fell into which was often more than one. For example, Amy Winehouse fell into both Entertainment ans Personal Identity because the genre of music you listen to often also says a lot about you. Another example of this is a TV series like ‘Peaky Blinders’ which, as well as being entertainment is also a spark for Social Interaction; another category, by being a show that lots of people watch and are very invested in.

Blumler and Katz’s theory will help me produce my own piece of media, in the form of my music magazine, by directing what I should add in order to make it a successful piece of text. This means I need to focus on my magazine being entertaining, relatable, conversation-worthy and informative in order to cover all the categories of Uses and Gratification.

The Media Ecology

The Media Ecology is the assortment of components that work symbiotically to create and produce media as we know it today. There are 8 main components:

  • Social media eg. instagram
  • Audience
  • Creators eg. youtubers
  • Technology
  • Government
  • Distribution
  • Institutions eg. Sony
  • Money

Whilst discussing which component/s are the most important to media as a final product, we discovered that every component is reliant on others. This means that all factors are equally responsible for what the public consume, whether its by creating it (creators and institutions), endorsing it (money), or regulating it (government).

My music magazine would fit into the institutions component of the ecology because magazines are usually produced by large teams and then distributed by publishers. When producing my magazine I will have to be mindful of all the components of the ecology but, specifically, I need to focus on the audience aspect. This is because if I do not have content aimed towards my target audience then the engagement for my magazine will be low. I also have to be aware of social media because since it has become such a large part of media today, the magazine would need to be up-to-date in pop culture in order to appear contemporary and cutting-edge.